How to Get a Job as a Lawyer: Tips for Landing Your Dream Job
Alexis Joyce, associate director of career development, advises students and alumni in career planning, job-search strategies, resume preparation, interview skills, and networking in legal and professional markets. Here she outlines the critical, perhaps overlooked, steps for landing your dream legal job.
1. Get an Internship or Externship While in Law School
The best way to position yourself to land your dream job in law is to start gaining experience as soon as possible. The goal is to be able to demonstrate to potential employers that you have the substantive skills to do the job. Even positions that are in a different practice area are valuable, and we recommend that you work with your Career Development Office (CDO) counselor while at Pepperdine Law to identify transferable skills that you can highlight to your future employer.
2. Networking, Networking, Networking
The word "networking" has such a stigma attached to it—but it doesn't have to! Here in the CDO, we like to refer to networking as relationship building, a crucial part of any thorough and efficient job search. Many job opportunities aren't even posted because they are filled by someone the employer already knows. By building relationships and extending your network, you increase the chances that you'll learn of (and get hired into) a position that you wouldn't have otherwise known about. But remember the key to networking: never ask for a job directly; ask only for advice, and have patience with the process. Networking may impact your job search immediately, or it may impact your job search 20 years from now (which is why it's important to start networking as early as possible).
3. Be Flexible
Remember that your career path is more of a journey than a destination. Many students find that their interests continually evolve throughout law school, and that is normal. Law school will expose you to practice areas and career paths that you were likely unaware of before you started. Be open to new interests and practice areas, and you may be surprised by the opportunities that present themselves.
4. Be Yourself
If you are asked to interview for a position, chances are good that the employer is confident that you'd be able to do the actual work. The interview stage is often an opportunity for the employer to assess who will be the best fit for the office. This is your time to demonstrate to the employer that you're not only capable and qualified but that you're also someone they want on their team. The best way to do that is to be your authentic self.
Your CDO counselor is always available to strategize with you about your personal career path. We look forward to hearing from you soon!